President Edgar Lungu shows the Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Frank-Walter STEINMEIER a lion at State House Yesterday 20-11-2015. Picture by ROYD SIBAJENE/ZANIS
By Lusaka Times
VISITING German Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier is confident Zambia will overcome its current economic problems. And Germany has decided to open a representation of the Southern African-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry office in Lusaka.
Dr Steinmeier said Germany does not under-estimate the current challenges, but sees Zambia’s vast potential.
“Today we are here at a difficult time for Zambia. The economic, financial and energy crisis creates a lot of hardships for many Zambians.
“But I am confident that Zambia will overcome the current difficulties. The fact that I am accompanied by a high-ranking delegation from parliament, business and academia is proof of me not being the only German who thinks so,” he said.
The German Minister of Foreign Affairs was speaking on Friday evening during a cocktail reception held in his honour in Lusaka.
He said there is need to come up with a coherent reform strategy to make swift head-way on what President Lungu called a ‘journey of national transformation for a smart Zambia’.
Dr Steinmeier said Germans have explored economic possibilities and challenges for German investors in Zambia.
He also said the Southern African-German chamber of Commerce and Industry office will start operating early next year, noting that the importance for creative industries is rising all over the globe.
And Minister of Foreign Affairs Harry Kalaba said Zambia desires to tap into Germany’s expertise on economic diversification.
He said the Zambian government is therefore interested in establishing more economic and trade links with Germany through public private partnerships.
Mr Kalaba is confident that the visit by the German Foreign Affairs minister will result in representatives from Zambian business sectors forging closer partnerships to accelerate economic growth and development in Zambia.
He said the Zambian government is pleased with the high-powered delegation that came from Germany and was hopeful various networks and contacts had been established between respective business persons.
A 95-member German delegation was in Zambia to explore business and bilateral opportunities.
Meanwhile, Dr Steinmeier has urged the ruling and the opposition parties to ensure a levelled playing field during next year’s general elections.
He said Zambia has been a beacon of peace and stability and a good example in handing over power smoothly, which was demonstrated by President Kaunda and President Banda.
Dr Steinmeier earlier met President Lungu at State House before meeting opposition leaders at Pamodzi Hotel. The opposition leaders that attended the meeting were Edith Nawakwi of the Forum for Democracy and Development, Nevers Mumba of the Movement for Multi-party Democracy, Elias Chipimo of the National Restoration Party and Mutale Nalumango of the United Party for National Development.